Record number of finalists and runway participants at indigenous fashion events

Indigenous Fashion Projects (IFP) has announced its two landmark events will be held from 8-13 August, namely this year’s edition of National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA) and the Country to Couture fashion show.

IFP are reporting that this year’s events will both have the highest number of participants to date, with more than 60 nominees for the NIFA, and 23 labels selected to walk two packed shows at Country to Couture.

In addition to the fashion events, IFP will also hold the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF), which aims to propel Indigenous fashion designers to new heights and providing mainstream mentoring opportunities to elevate their success.

DAAF Foundation’s Artistic Director and Eastern Arrernte visual artist, Shilo McNamee said First Nations fashion was growing quickly and commanding a huge amount of attention.

“We are so excited to break records this year with the number of First Nations fashion designers involved in IFP’s NIFA and Country to Couture,” McNamee said. “These events are recognised globally and in Australia’s Indigenous communities for celebrating and propelling designers to new heights, while maintaining an authentic and grassroots feel.

“Both are wonderful platforms that delight audiences, and see First Nations fashion and textile designers – at all levels of career development – experience the industry first-hand,” McNamee added. “These are special fashion events steeped in over 60,000 years of culture and heritage, but also showcase some of the most contemporary designs in the country.”

First launched in 2020, the NIFA is supported by the Northern Territory Government. Country Road sponsors the Fashion Designer Award which offers the winner a 12-month industry mentorship.

Country Road Head of Design for Womenswear Nimmi Premaratne said the company was incredibly excited to be a part of the NIFA and Country to Couture for the fourth year running.

“It’s been an honour to celebrate and learn from the amazing talent and creativity of First Nations designers,” Premaratne said. “We look forward to working with the 2023 Fashion Designer winner and developing a long-term relationship built on listening, understanding, and sharing. Our mentorship caters to the individual needs of the designer, and can include areas such as product development, marketing, sales and more.”